H. V. Hordern

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Ranji Hordern
Cricket information
Batting Right-hand bat
Bowling Legbreak googly
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Matches 7 35
Runs scored 254 781
Batting average 23.09 16.97
100s/50s 0/1 0/3
Top score 50 64
Balls bowled 2148 7215
Wickets 46 228
Bowling average 23.36 16.36
5 wickets in innings 5 25
10 wickets in match 2 9
Best bowling 7/90 8/31
Catches/stumpings 6/0 39/0

Dr. Herbert Vivian "Ranji" Hordern (10 February 1883 – 17 June 1938) was an Australian cricketer who played in 7 Tests from 1911 to 1912. He was the first major leg-spin and googly bowler to play for Australia. His nickname, "Ranji", came from his dark complexion, and is a reference to the famous Indian (but played for England) cricketer K S Ranjitsinhji.[1] He was a member of the Hordern family, well known as retailers in Sydney.


Hordern was born in North Sydney, New South Wales and made his debut in first-class cricket by taking 8 for 81 for New South Wales—and 11 wickets in the match—against Queensland in December 1905.[2] He then moved to the United States to pursue his studies. While a student of dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, he toured England in 1908 and Jamaica in 1908-09 with the Philadelphian cricket team.[3] He played 17 first class matches for Philadelphians, and it was during his time in America that he perfected his googly.

Hordern returned to Australia in 1910. Owing to the foresight of Warren Bardsley, he found his way back into the state side immediately. After picking up 43 wickets in six matches in the 1910-11 season, he convinced the Australian selectors to follow Bardsley's lead. Chosen for the Fourth Test of the 1910/11 series against South Africa, he took fourteen wickets at an average of 21.07 in his two Tests in this series,[4] including 5 in the second innings on debut,[5] and 32 wickets at 24.37 against England in the following season. In the England series, he had match figures of 12 for 135 in the first Test at Sydney, assisting Australia to their only win of the series. In the final game, also at Sydney, he took 10 for 161.[6] By this time, he was being called the best bowler of his type in the world.[7]

Hordern's priority in life was his medical career.[8] This, along with the controversy surrounding the selection of the team to tour England in 1912, restricted his career. He participated in only 35 first-class matches between 1905 and 1913.[9] He died at age 55 in Darlinghurst, New South Wales.


  • Googlies: Coals from a Test-Cricketer's Fireplace (Angus & Robertson: Sydney, 1932).


  1. ^ "Cricinfo - Return of the Aussie Leg-Spinner". Cricinfo. 1 January 1985. Retrieved 2007-02-16. [dead link]
  2. ^ "New South Wales v Queensland in 1905/06". CricketArchive. 2003–2007. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  3. ^ "First-class Batting and Fielding For Each Team by Ranji Hordern". CricketArchive. 2003–2007. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  4. ^ "South Africa in Australia 1910/11". CricketArchive. 2003–2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007. 
  5. ^ "4th Test: Australia v South Africa at Melbourne, Feb 17-21, 1911". espncricinfo. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 
  6. ^ "Marylebone Cricket Club in Australia 1911/12". CricketArchive. 2003–2007. Archived from the original on 17 January 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007. 
  7. ^ Barker, Ralph; Irving Rosenwater (1969). England v Australia: A Compendium of Test Cricket Between the Countries 1877-1968. Batsford. p. 121. ISBN 0-7134-0317-9. 
  8. ^ Williamson, Martin (2007). "Cricinfo - Players and Officials - Ranji Hordern". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  9. ^ "First-Class Matches played by Ranji Hordern (35)". CricketArchive. 2003–2007. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Rick Smith, Googlyman: The Story of HV 'Ranji' Hordern, Apple Books, 2005, ISBN 0-9757799-0-7.